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    News Round-Up: October 29, 2013

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Hawaii is up next to legalize gay marriage; an official review on NSA programs is underway; and social media sites criticize tasteless blackface and Trayvon Martin costumes. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers break up, and Julianne Hough receives some intense criticism for her offensive Halloween costume.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Hawaii governor expects gay marriage bill to pass ‘within week’,http://rtvote.com/1f1FWUw
    Hawaii’s legislature is expected to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage “within a week or so.” The state’s House of Representatives will pass the bill on Thursday if it passes Senate; both chambers have Democratic majorities. Governor Neil Abercrombie stated that he hopes the bill will pass before January, at the very latest.

    White House: Review will address global NSA concernshttp://rtvote.com/1gXYp8Q
    As more nations become enraged by NSA’s spying programs, the White House has assured the public that the collection of data on allies will not continue. A review of these programs is currently in the works, and a report on the review will be due by the end of the year. Spain is the latest country that has joined in on protests against the U.S.’s surveillance tactics; others include Germany, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Trick-or-treating takes a tasteless turnhttp://rtvote.com/1g9uU2E
    Halloween is right around the corner, and so are some of the most offensive costumes in Halloween history. Some of the more tasteless trick-or-treaters are donning Ariel Castro costumes, blackface costumes, and even Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman costumes. There has been a backlash on social media sites (rightfully so) against such getups, and the Utah Jazz and Julianne Hough have received such criticism.

    5 killed in Dallas-area shootings; suspect arrestedhttp://rtvote.com/1f1LVZx
    Police have arrested Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, for killing five people in a shooting spree in the small town of Terrell, Texas. The murders started at 5 PM Monday, and Brownlow was captured and arrested early Tuesday. The victims have not been officially identified.

    Report: White House knew plans would be canceled under ACA,http://rtvote.com/1gY57eY
    About 50%-75% of 14 million consumers who buy health insurance individually will have their plans cancelled in the next year because their current policies fail to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Initially, the White House said that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010, could be kept even if they did not meet the requirements of the new healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services later narrowed that provision. NBC News reports that the Obama administration has known for three years that people’s insurance would be canceled. The White House has responded that those whose policies are voided will be automatically shifted to plans with better protections. Additionally, they claim that nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their plans, but the failure of some plans to meet the new minimum standards should be expected.


    George Clooney and John Prendergast discuss what should be done to stop the chaos in Sudan in “Sudan could become a second Syria,” http://rtvote.com/1f1Puij

    Errol Louis talks about Banksy’s insensitive slam against New Yorkers and Americans in “Banksy’s insult shows he’s clueless about New York,” http://rtvote.com/19PKcV9


    Julianne Hough Goes Blackface as Orange is the New Black Character for Halloween Costume, http://rtvote.com/1gY8ouS

    Jonas Brothers Break Up: “It was a Unanimous Decision,” http://rtvote.com/1gY8H8U

    Dax Shepard Doesn’t Have a Wedding Ring, Says It Cost Him $142 to Marry Kristen Bell,http://rtvote.com/1gY9t63

    Adam Levine Says Fiancée Behati Prinsloo Made Him Believe in Marriage,http://rtvote.com/1gY9R4i


    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round Up: Monday, June 10, 2013

    Monday, June 10th, 2013

    George Zimmerman begins his murder trial; the DOJ launches a criminal investigation with regard to NSA leaks; Nelson Mandela remains in a serious but stable condition; thousands flee parts of Germany and Hungary due to dam burst; a fifth victim dies as a result of the Santa Monica shootings. Meanwhile, ‘Kinky Boots’ wins best musical at the Tony Awards, and the Purge leads box office sales.

    Maura + Alexis


    All eyes on Central Florida as George Zimmerman murder trial begins, http://bit.ly/118e5JY
    George Zimmerman’s murder trial begins today. The trial will take place at the Seminole County criminal courthouse, a mere seven miles from the scene of the attack. Zimmerman is being charged of killing Trayvon Martin, a black teenager on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman may or may not testify.

    DOJ launches criminal probe of NSA leaker, http://bit.ly/19eAbT3
    The Justice Department confirmed Sunday that it will conduct a criminal investigation with regard to the NSA’s phone and internet espionage. In compliance with long standing policy, the Justice Department has declined any further comments at the moment.

    Nelson Mandela condition ‘unchanged – still serious’, http://bbc.in/ZEk8Zn
    Nelson Mandela remains in a serious but stable condition in a Pretoria hospital. The former President of South Africa was taken to a hospital early Saturday for the third time this year.

    Thousands flee flood-hit parts of Germany and Hungary, http://bbc.in/11sVwQH
    23,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in the east German city of Magdeburg after a dam in the River Elbe burst. Water levels have receded starting today; however, the city and surrounding areas remain on high alert. At least 19 people have died so far in these dangerous floods throughout Central Europe.

    Santa Monica shooting: Victims’ family speaks out, students cope, http://lat.ms/119QBUP
    A fifth victim of the Santa Monica shootings died Sunday. Marcela Franco, a student of Santa Monica College, died at age 26 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She and her father, a 68-year old groundskeeper at the college were shot inside their vehicle in the campus parking lot. Authorities are still trying determine shooter John Zawahri’s motive in opening fire on the streets & campus.

    Prince Harry Saved Me From Gay Hate Attack Says Squaddie, http://thebea.st/11CjD2F
    A gay soldier wrote a book about his experiences of being in the British army including one especially remarkable story of how Prince Harry confronted six soldiers who threatened to “batter” him because of his sexual orientation. He claims the Prince saved his life, and for that he is beyond grateful.


    Review: Kanye West at the Governors Ball, http://bit.ly/162nAhS

    ‘Kinky Boots’ Dances to the Top of the Tonys, http://nyti.ms/13x65VZ

    ‘The Purge’ Leads at the Box Office, http://nyti.ms/11aRxZl

    Jason Collins Marches in Boston’s Gay Pride Parade, http://eonli.ne/15Qs76w

    Scarlett Johansson Suing Over Use of Her Name in Book, http://eonli.ne/19TTv6T

    Bio: My name is Alexis Macdermott and I will be starting my third year at Duke University this fall. I am currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in economics. I am a native of Southwest Florida and am an avid runner and film enthusiast. I look forward to joining the Marketing and Communications team for the summer here at RTV!

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

    The Turkish deputy PM seeks to appease citizens; the U.N. human rights team believes Syria has used chemical weapons; the GOP threatens to restrict funding for the IRS; floods continue in Germany; Oscar Pistorius’s hearing is postponed until August 19; an American tourist is gang-raped in India; China censors the big yellow duck; and David Barton warns Christians not to drink Starbucks coffee.  Meanwhile, Channing and Jenna Tatum reveal their baby girl’s name, and Coldplay drummer makes a cameo in Game of Thrones.

    Maura + Alexis


    Turkish deputy PM seeks to calm anti-government protests, http://reut.rs/19EmmvR
    Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister attempted to appease anti-government demonstrators on Tuesday with an apology for police crackdown on a peaceful protest. Bulent Arinc’s words carried a much different tone than Erdogan’s, who leftMonday on a visit to North Africa. Arinc told a news conference in Ankara that “the excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment is wrong and unfair. I apologize to those citizens.”

    U.N. rights team believes chemical weapons used in Syria, http://reut.rs/19EBUQb
    Human rights investigators from the U.N. said Tuesday that they had “reasonable grounds” to believe that at least small amounts of chemical weapons had been used in Syria. Now, more so than ever, a sense of urgency has been instilled in the West to end the war. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the use of chemical weapons was unacceptable. The U.N. commission examined four reported toxic attacks in the months of March and April, but there is no information as to which side was behind the attacks.

    GOP threatens IRS purse strings, http://bit.ly/18NZR8E
    GOP appropriators said Monday that they were willing and able to pull on the IRS’s ‘purse strings’ to elicit answers regarding accusations that the IRS has been targeting conservative groups. In other words, the House Appropriations Committee would restrict IRS funding, a power only Congress has, in order to get to the truth. The acting IRS chief said he is prepared to defend President Obama’s budget, which aims for a $1 billion increase in funding for the IRS.

    Floods threaten Dresden as Prague river levels fall, http://bbc.in/1309bjF
    Cities in southern and eastern Germany are on high alert, and Dresden prepares for water levels 5m higher than average. Thankfully, river levels in Prague are falling, and floodwaters are moving north. The city of Regensburg has declared a state of emergency. Meanwhile, in the state state of Saxony, which includes the city of Dresden, officials warn that water levels have the chance of rising higher than those of the record floods of 2002. Eleven people have died so far throughout the countries affected; only six fewer than in 2002.

    Oscar Pistorius’ hearing postponed until Aug. 19, http://usat.ly/15BPcds
    Oscar Pistorius stood throughout the entirety of his 15-minute court hearing Tuesday, portraying very little emotion. It was a very different look compared to the very emotional presentation he gave during his bail hearing in February. Magistrate Daniel Thulare decided to postpone the case until August 19, 2013, allowing police more time for investigations.

    US Tourist Gang-raped in Northern India: Police, http://yhoo.it/18QhJ2V
    An American female tourist was gang-raped by a truck driver and two accomplices Tuesday in Northern India. The 30-year-old woman was raped following her decision to accept an offer for a ride from a truck driver in Manali. Medical tests prove that she was indeed raped, and police continue to hunt down the criminals. Every truck driver in Manali has been ordered to report to the local police station in an effort to track down the three men.

    Censored in China: ‘Today,’ ‘Tonight’ and ‘Big Yellow Duck’, http://nyti.ms/12qwdFj
    China has banned the phrases “today,” tonight,” “June 4,” and “big yellow duck” on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, today due to a picture posted on the internet that quickly became an internet sensation. In an attempt to resurrect a banned image of a Chinese man blocking a line of tanks in Tianenman Square, a photoshopped version of the iconic image was posted on Weibo replacing the tanks with big yellow ducks. The images were almost immediately removed by censors, but only after making their way all across cyberspace.

    Christians Can’t Drink Starbucks Because Company Supports Gay Marriage, Evangelical Says (VIDEO), http://huff.to/16Exgmo
    According to former evangelical pastor and conservative activist David Barton, there is “no way” a truly righteous Christian can drink coffee from a cup with a little green straw – from Starbucks, that is. Because Starbucks donates money to support gay marriage and has publicly supported Washington state’s same-sex marriage bill, Barton argues that to support the company would be supporting “what is attacking God.”


    Miguel’s Leg Drop Victim May Have Suffered Brain Damage, Might Sue, http://huff.to/1b0xFfL

    Jonah Hill In ‘Arrested Development’ Movie? Mitch Hurwitz Reveals He Could Have Played George Michael In Elaborate Hoax, http://huff.to/18R74oH

    Penelope Cruz As Bond Girl? Rumor Has Oscar Winner Heading To Next 007 Film, http://huff.to/18Ls4d

    Will Champion On ‘Game Of Thrones’: Coldplay Drummer Makes Cameo Appearance As Drummer, http://huff.to/16FhWWK

    Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum Reveal New Daughter’s Name!, http://eonli.ne/15xx3Ne

    Bio: My name is Alexis Macdermott and I will be starting my third year at Duke University this fall. I am currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in economics. I am a native of Southwest Florida and am an avid runner and film enthusiast. I look forward to joining the Marketing and Communications team for the summer here at RTV!

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

    An attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya leaves four Americans dead; a Mexican drug kingpin is extradited to America; and hundreds die in Pakistani factory fires. Meanwhile, Jason Sudeikis returns to “Saturday Night Live;” and pro football player Arian Foster embarks on a rap career.

    Caitlin + David


    U.S. ambassador to Libya, 3 other Americans killed in Benghazi, http://wapo.st/Pb0D3J
    John Christopher Stevens, the United States Ambassador to Libya, as well as a Foreign Service information management officer named Sean Smith and two other individuals whose identities are being withheld pending the notification of their families, have been killed in an attack on the American consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi. Stevens and the other victims were fleeing the consulate when their automobile was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the attackers as a “small and savage group,” and stressed that “we will not turn our back” on “a free and stable Libya.” Two Marine Corps anti-terrorism security teams have been dispatched to Libya to aid security in the wake of the attack, and President Obama has said he has ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide.

    Mexico extradites Zetas founder to U.S., http://bit.ly/OguIMT
    Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, one of the founders of the Los Zetas criminal cartel, has been extradited to the United States from Mexico, where he will face charges of criminal conspiracy and drug trafficking in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Rejon Aguilar has been under investigation since 2006, and is believed to have been instrumental in the smuggling of large quantities of marijuana and cocaine into the United States as well as the laundering of the proceeds of the drug sales. He is considered a founder of the Los Zetas cartel, believed to be Mexico’s most violent organized crime group, and was described by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as “the number three in the command structure.”

    German court backs eurozone’s ESM bailout fund, http://bbc.in/RRb2Ec
    Germany’s highest court has confirmed Germany’s commitment to the permanent eurozone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), rejecting calls by 37,000 petitioners to block the ESM and make it subject to a referendum. The Constitutional Court imposed conditions on the commitment, including a cap on Germany’s contributions, which could only be overturned by the German parliament. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it “a good day,” and European markets made gains on the news, with the euro posting a four-month high against the dollar at $1.29. Analysts suggest that the ESM is a critical tool to combating the eurozone debt crisis, along with a plan from the European Central Bank to purchase government bonds held by struggling countries. Under this scheme, Germany is liable for 190 billion euros, out of a 500 billion euro fund.

    More Than 300 People Die in 2 Pakistan Fires, http://nyti.ms/QcYRRD
    Two separate fires, one in a shoe factory in the eastern city of Lahore and one in a garment factory in the southern port city of Karachi, have claimed more than 300 lives, and “the death toll is expected to rise,” according to the commissioner of Karachi Roshan Ali Sheikh. Officials say that in the Karachi factory, panicking workers were trapped in the multistory building, which had only a single exit. The shoe factory in Lahore, according to officials, was set up illegally and disguised to look like a residential home from the outside, and burned down when a generator caught fire and ignited nearby chemicals. The deaths prompted renewed concerns about lax safety standards and inhumane working conditions in Pakistan.

    Australia to ban giant fishing trawler, http://reut.rs/OmIaV7
    Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke plans to introduce legislation giving him the power to ban a controversial Dutch “super-trawler” following protests from environmental groups including Greenpeace, who expressed concerns about over-fishing and possible detrimental effects on ocean wildlife. The trawler, 466 feet in length, is reportedly the world’s second-largest fishing vessel. Burke said that uncertainty over the environmental impact of the trawler led to the decision. The company behind the ship, Seafish Tasmania, said in an open letter written jointly with the Commonwealth Fisheries Association that the “trial by media” has undermined the credibility of Australian fisheries management, created insecurity among fishermen, and has deterred crucial investment needed to support regional jobs.


    Emma Bell Joins ‘Dallas’ As New Regular, http://bit.ly/QFFr7D

    Jason Sudeikis Returning to ‘Saturday Night Live’, http://bit.ly/OqdHFM

    Chris Brown One Ups Rihanna With New “Fly” Tattoo In The Same Place, http://bit.ly/OGJ8rh

    Houston Texans’ Arian Foster Working On Rap Career With Bun B., http://bit.ly/RIF1j4

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

    In today’s news, Germany is reopening investigations into former Nazi death camp guards; Obama calls out the GOP regarding the American Jobs Act; taxpayers may have to pay a private law firm for Republicans’ defense of DOMA; and the general consensus is that the Apple iPhone 4S is a letdown. In entertainment news, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel performs at Occupy Wall Street, and Hank Williams Jr. apologizes for his remarks about President Obama.

    Coral + Caitlin


    Germany reopens investigations into Nazi death camp guards, http://bit.ly/nWdnbI
    After the conviction of John Demjanjuk, a guard at Sobibor death camp in Poland in 1943, prosecutors in Germany are reopening investigations of other former Nazi death camp guards. Ninety-one year-old Demjanjuk was deported from the US to Germany in 2009 to stand trial. He was convicted in May of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder. Demjanjuk appealed his conviction; however, authorities do not want to wait until the verdict to find evidence against other war criminals. “The suspects are old, that’s why we’re preparing everything now so that as soon as there is a final decision, we can move immediately with charges,” said the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s chief Nazi-hunter, Efraim Zuroff.

    Greek Workers Strike Against Proposed Austerity Measures, http://bit.ly/ofjleC
    Protesters are continuing demonstrations and work stoppages in a show of displeasure with Athens’ latest austerity plan to avert a Greek debt default. The protests have caused problems in transit, schools have shut down, and protesters have blocked the entrance to many public buildings. Also a Greek terrorist trial was postponed because of a public servants strike.

    Democrats hold on in West Virginia governor’s race, http://wapo.st/r82QXG
    West Virginia Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin won the state’s special election for governor on Tuesday. His win is good news for the Democratic Party, as it has lost two special elections in the past month. Tomblin became governor 11 months ago when Gov. Joe Manchin (D) won a special election for a U.S. Senate seat. Tuesday’s special election was for the final year of Manchin’s term, meaning Tomblin will have to run again next year for a full four year term.

    Unions endorse, will join Occupy Wall Street protests, http://bit.ly/qFd0Bs
    As the Occupy Wall Street protesters rally for a third week, social media sites such as Twitter seem to be spurring similar protests in other cities. A Twitter account for Occupy Boston calls for a college-wide walk out on Wednesday. The Massachusetts Nurses Association has said hundreds of the city’s nurses will rally with the Occupy Boston protesters.

    War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era, http://bit.ly/nWo5ov
    According to a PEW Research Center poll, a third of U.S. military veterans who have served in the armed forces since the September 11, 2011 think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not worth fighting. The poll showed that veterans are proud to have served their country, but believe the American public does not understand the sacrifices soldiers make.

    (via LA Times) After 2 killed in California workplace shooting, 2nd shooting reported, http://lat.ms/pguLmb: there has been a second shooting in Cupertino, Calif., in a parking lot at Homestead Road and Tantau Avenue. It’s unknown if that shooting is related to an earlier one Wednesday at a Cupertino quarry, where at least two people were killed when a worker opened fire. The parking lot is about five miles away from the quarry.

    Obama Calls Out Republicans in Jobs Speech, http://bit.ly/qUqzFX
    President Obama is starting to put up a fight. In Mesquite, Texas on Tuesday, Obama bashed the GOP for blocking his American Jobs Act. He specifically called out majority leader Eric Cantor saying, “Well, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill does he not believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?”

    State to students: Register your car in Maine or don’t vote here, http://bit.ly/pDNIfi
    Maine’s Secretary of State Charles Summers has sent a letter to about 200 of the Maine university students cleared in a recent voter fraud investigation, advising them to either get a Maine driver’s license and register their vehicles in Maine or relinquish their right to vote in the state. In Maine, registered voters must also register their vehicles with the state. Summers used this as his rationale for sending out letters to the students; however, others think he sent the letter to intimidate them. “My car registration ran out at the end of September. Now I renewed, but I’m a registered voter [and] I didn’t get a letter from Charlie Summers asking me if I was going to re-register or if I wanted to unenroll to vote,” said David Farmer, spokesman for Protect Maine Votes, which is fighting to reinstate same day voter registration in Maine. “He singled out these students and there’s only one reason to do that and that’s to scare them.”

    What The Justice Department Can Actually Do About Voter ID Laws, http://bit.ly/pbv3al
    Last week, President Obama told a radio audience that he’s making sure the Department of Justice is reviewing the new voter ID laws across the country. However, the Justice Department only has so much they can do. In South Carolina and Texas, the Department of Justice can look into the laws because the states have a history of voter discrimination and are covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but in other states the Department of Justice may not be able to act.

    Taxpayers On The Hook For $1.5 Million To Defend Law Barring Same-Sex Marriage, http://huff.to/r9zLgl
    House Republicans have agreed to a new contract to pay a private law firm up to $1.5 million to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage on the federal level. This is three times more than was orginally agreed upon in April by the House and the firm Bancroft PLLC. A new contract, released to the press by House Democrats on Tuesday, raises that cap to $1.5 million of tax-payer money that will be spent to defend DOMA.

    (via POLITICO Morning Tech) THE TALIBAN’S CELLPHONE TACTICS: Taliban forces throughout a large swath of Afghanistan are forcing cell carriers to shut off their signal towers every evening as part of the group’s newest show of influence, the NYT reports. http://nyti.ms/pTMpwE

    Apple stumble seen opening door for rivals, http://reut.rs/nnTV01
    On Tuesday, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 4S, which disappointed customers who believed the phone would have a design upgrade. However, the 4S has new software and a better camera. This letdown leaves the door open for rival companies like Samsung Electronics, HTC and Nokia to gain ground in the smart phone market.

    Shechtman Wins Nobel in Chemistry for Quasicrystals Discovery, http://bit.ly/pppo2P
    An Israeli scientist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for changing the views about the atomic structure of matter with his discovery of quasicrystals. A discovery that was thought to be impossible, Shechtman showed that atoms in some crystals have regular patterns that cannot be repeated. These are being experimented with in the coating for frying pans and heat insulation for engines.


    Harold Meyersmith is, “Rescuing America from Wall Street,” http://wapo.st/ny5AAc

    Jeff Mangum At Occupy Wall Street: Neutral Milk Hotel Singer Plays Impromptu Show At Protest (VIDEO), http://huff.to/rbQwRz

    Hank Williams Jr. apologizes – again for comments, http://reut.rs/ru0hBn

    NBA negotiations key on Tuesday talks, http://es.pn/nef2ui

    The Coen Brothers Are Making a TV Show, http://bit.ly/omqhTz

    Adele ‘Truly Devastated’ To Cancel U.S. Tour, http://on.mtv.com/nghTPh

    Bio: Coral is the Marketing Intern at Rock the Vote

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com